|Town/Region||Amacayacu National Park|
|Continent||Central and Latin America|
|Categories||Hunting, Mammals, Primates|
|Date||18 Jul 2005|
The southern part of Amacayacu National Park is used intensively by indigenous people whose right to hunt for domestic purposes is legally recognized. The human population is growing exponentially, though, while those of all large vertebrates appear to be decreasing precipitously.
The park and six allied Resguardos Indígenas have succeeded in transforming the dynamics of the system so that the explicit objective of a Win-Win outcome is realistically possible. This is a miracle, but it's no accident. An active policy of participative research with these communities has resulted in a locally-developed Natural Resource Management Plan for the region whose criteria for resource use are: fairness, sustainability and democratic determination. Four of these communities included among their management norms a complete ban on hunting woolly monkeys, curassows, and manatees. The advances, though real, are nevertheless precarious. The challenge is to maintain the processes that have made them possible and simultaneously contribute to developing employment alternatives consistent with the conservation of natural ecosystems and species. The Animals' House, its Animals, and its Activities will be highly visible steps articulating the short term dilemma to this long term goal.
The Animals' House will provide care for confiscated animals (especially monkeys) and, if appropriate, the opportunity for them to rejoin the wild populations. With appropriate infrastructure, this not only is a humane response and disincentive to illegal wildlife trafficking, but also provides excellent opportunities for both local people and ecotourists to learn about animals in a respectful, affectionate, and fun context. (Picture: Ecotourism is considered one of the most promising economic alternatives for realizing sustainable use of the forest in this region; ironically, though, it is difficult for visitors to see the large vertebrates that are emblematic of the Amazon. The accidental animals we are caring for provide excellent opportunities for visitors and local youngsters to experience animals in a respectful, affectionate, and fun context, and for training local guides specialized in the interpretation of fauna).
The predictions of this project are that an Interpretative Centre for Fauna will provide the impetus for expanding and continuing the nascent community monitoring program for fauna, catalyze a training program for local guides specialized in the interpretation of fauna, enhance local education, facilitate the prevention and enforcement of illegal trade in wildlife in the region, improve the quality of the visitor experience, increase the number of ecotourist visits and realize unambiguously the potential for robust faunal populations to improve these communities' economic and sociocultural well-being.
The Animals' House program is a part of a larger strategy for biological and cultural conservation; though small in scale, it is a keystone that will provide a physical and social structure for integrating protection, education, monitoring, research, and ecotourism functions that all need to work complementarily for sustainable development to be more than wishful thinking.
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